World Health Assembly elects Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as new WHO Director-General

Photo by: Russell WatkinsThe Commonwealth Medical Trust (Commat) joins with other CSOs in congratulating Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his election as the new Director-General of WHO. He is the first Director-General from Africa. Nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, he will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017, succeeding Dr Margaret Chan, who has been WHO’s Director-General since 1 January 2007.

Dr Tedros previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012. He was chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board; and co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

As Minister of Health, Ethiopia, Dr Tedros led a comprehensive reform effort of the country's health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure, creating 3500 health centres and 16 000 health posts; expanded the health workforce by 38 000 health extension workers; and initiated financing mechanisms to expand health insurance coverage.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, he led the effort to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As Chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, he secured record funding for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.

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